That one St. Paddy’s Day I was attacked by a wooden lion…

(It’s been two years since that fateful St. Paddy’s Day when I was attacked by a wooden lion. Some scars take longer to heal. Especially when there’s splinters. Below is the whole sordid (weird) tail… I mean tale.
Erin go Roar!)

image It’s been nearly 40 years since my third-grade teacher, Mrs. Flunkem, wrote the following remark in red ink on my report card:

Unstructured time is a challenge for Ned.

After reading this, my mother looked at me and said, “Since when did filling your unstructured time become a challenge?”

And things haven’t really changed since then. I can honestly say, through sheer luck and determination, I have put myself in a position to have what I’m sure Mrs. Flunkem would consider entirely too much unstructured time. Fortunately for me, my wife disagrees with Mrs. Flunkem and encourages me to make the most of it.

How?

By saying things like, “Hey Honey! Look at that wooden lion over there!” Continue reading

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Not sure this will help me with the Canadian vote…

image For those of you following — and in many cases supporting — my pursuit of The Public Blogger’s “Performer of the Year” award, the voting has officially opened tonight for round five! I say “in many cases” because, after seeing tonight’s performance, I may lose the support of Canadian readers.

Yes, all seven of them.

So why am I even taking the risk? Because this week’s challenge required each of the remaining six nominees to create a special presentation showcasing the country of our choice — in the genre we have been nominated in. Since I’m a humorist, I chose Canada! That’s because I figure any country that could give us Justin Bieber must have a good sense of humor.

I guess we’ll see, ey?!? Continue reading

Voting has opened! And so has my Dos Eques…

image Voting for this week’s round of competition for the “Performance of the Year” at The Public Blogger has opened. The remaining six nominees and myself are each presenting the results of our latest challenge, which includes using one whole raw chicken, a set of guitar strings and a an empty shoe box.

Needless to say, it should be an interesting show.

Please follow the link below, which will take you to the live page where all of tonight’s performances are being presented. After you’ve finished, you’ll find the voting booth is at the bottom of the page. Pick your favorite performance and push the “vote” botton.

It’s that simple!

Oh, and don’t forget to wash your hands afterward to prevent the spread of Salmonella…

Just click on the icon below and enjoy the show!

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Your vote could save humanity (another an ugly crier)

image It started with 700 people, now it’s down to seven. No, I’m not talking about the list of Republican presidential nominees. As The Public Blogger’s “Performance of the Year” competition enters its fourth round tonight, seven of us — artists, poets, singers, photographers and one solitary humorist *wink wink* — will be presenting an original piece for this week’s challenge. Along with votes from a panel of incredibly talented judges who are wise and caring people I revere and admire for their genius-level intellect and stunning good looks (and who sometimes read our posts), your vote will determine which one of us gets eliminated from the next round, after which our lives will enter a downward spiral of drinking, gambling, public twerking and Netflix binge watching of “Supernatural.” Continue reading

How to jumpstart your writing without any permanent damage

Michelle at Lipstick and Laundry and Eli at Coach Daddy teamed up this morning for an insightful and entertaining post offering advice on Getting Past Writing Obstacles Like a Ninja. I can tell you their suggestions are terrific (although I did pull a groin muscle doing a ninja roll.) So do some stretches and then go read their post. In the meantime, think of this excerpt from my upcoming book Ned’s Nickel’s Worth on Writing: Advice From 16 Years as a Shucking Columnist as a special accompaniment piece that neither Michelle or Eli actually asked for. And not just because this image alone could be a mental obstacle impossible to overcome…

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image There’s nothing quite like staring at a blank page, knowing that with a few strokes of the keyboard you will transform a landscape devoid of life into a living, breathing thing of your own creation. There’s also nothing quite like finishing that fourth cup of coffee only to find that same blank page staring back at you.

Sure, you may have typed several sentences — or maybe even the same sentence several times — in hopes of gaining some kind of momentum to carry you over that first hump, but the cursor repeatedly stalls out in the same spot, leaving you with the same blank page after riding the “delete” button back to the beginning.

Hey, that’s why it’s called a “cursor.”

I’ll be honest. I don’t necessarily subscribe to the notion of writer’s “block,” which suggests some kind of blockage — such as a cheese wedge or too many butter biscuits — restricting movement through a hypothetical colon of creativity. Although there are some books in print that offer evidence to support at least part of the colon theory, I prefer to think of the writing process as cells in a battery; when they are fully charged, things start easily. But if the alternator belt slips too much or the terminals get corroded, you end up without enough juice to turn the engine. Because we are writers and not mechanics, and because that last sentence exhausted the full extent of my automotive knowledge, I will sum up my analogy with this: When your battery is low, you get a jump, right?

Writing is no different. Continue reading

After ‘Tequilla Tuesday’ at our office, it’s ‘Wine Wednesday’ while we clean up

image It’s my third day in charge while our publisher and editor are away, and after Margarita Monday and Tequilla Tuesday here at the office, everyone agreed we need a day to recoup and probably clean up. No hard liquor today so that we can remain focused and professional between our new hours of 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with the office closing for lunch from noon to 1 p.m.

To make the most of the two business hours we’re open, I packed up the tequilla. Sometimes as a leader you have to make unpopular decisions for the good of the company. I realize some folks aren’t happy that I’m cracking the whip, but we’ll just have to get through Wine Wednesday without the hard liquor.

Our first order of business will be to straighten up the office. It actually looks worse than it is. Bill’s desk, which is the one in the middle, remains virtually untouched by the partying. Although I think the pirate flag is new. Still, it’s a little embarrassing since there’s no place to set up the wine bar. Continue reading